Vocation Meditation -
August 22, 2010
Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few be saved?"
Jesus said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able."
"When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us,' then in reply he will say to you, 'I do not know where you come from.'"
"Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' But the Lord will say, 'I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!"
"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."
The question here addressed to Jesus reflected the assumption of the Jews that the Kingdom of God is meant more for them and less for the Gentiles. Jesus' response greatly shook their belief.
Jesus emphasized that entry to the kingdom of God cannot be automatic for the Jews. Belonging to the people of God is a privilege but also includes embracing God's laws. It is not enough to eat and drink and associate oneself with other members of one's faith. Membership is not everything to make one belong to God's community. Discipleship is what counts in the Kingdom of God. It works when Jews or Gentiles take Jesus' words and put them into practice. It is the 'narrow door' of Christian life.
The door of discipleship is narrow because it requires constant shedding off of selfishness from one's choices. It is a constant striving and an intense struggle of the spirit to pull the heart and mind away from anything that does not lead to loving God and sharing His life with others.
There may be surprises in the kingdom of God. Those who are prominent today may be humbled in the next life. Those who are in the fringes of society today may take real significance in the next.
"Strive to enter through the narrow door."
What choices will I shed off to enter the narrow door Jesus offers?
In my vocation search, I enter through many 'doors' in life that offer freedom, success, prestige, comfort and privileges. They cheer my life, yes, but their joy never lasts. The narrow door Jesus offers is different and lofty. It is a hard climb. I struggle a lot to be true to Him and to myself. May I enter through it with determination, and there find my vocation and inner peace. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.